Tightrope fixation of syndesmotic injuries in Weber C ankle fractures: a multicentre case series
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No general consensus has yet been established for the gold standard treatment of ankle syndesmotic complex injuries. Recent literature has documented the success of ankle tightrope fixation for heterogeneous ankle fracture patterns, resulting in syndesmotic complex injuries. We present a multicentre case series assessing the clinical, radiological and functional outcomes of patients with Weber C ankle fractures treated with the Arthrex TightRope® fixation system.
We performed a retrospective analysis of all adult patients with Weber C ankle fractures who were treated with the Arthrex TightRope® fixation system at four centres over a 3-year period. All patients were followed up for a mean of 14 months (range 12–26). Outcomes measures were assessed subjectively using functional scores (AOFAS and Olerud and Molander) and objectively using radiological measurements, complication rates and revision surgery rates.
Thirty-six patients met our eligibility criteria. The mean age at operation was 31 years (range 18–65). There were 20 males and 16 females. No patients were lost to follow-up. The ankle tightrope maintained satisfactory reduction in the ankle mortise in 97% of cases. Of these 35 successfully treated cases, no evidence of re-displacement on follow-up radiographs of the syndesmotic complex was observed at an average of 10.8 months (range 6–12). Post-operative mean medial clear space was 3.1 mm, and mean tibio-fibular overlap was 10.1 mm. The mean American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) score was 88.8 (range 67–98) at a mean follow-up of 14 months (range 12–26). The overall complication rate was 6% (one failure requiring revision surgery and one medial sided skin irritation requiring removal of suture button). No infections or wound complications occurred.
Tightrope fixation is a safe alternative to screw fixation for syndesmotic complex injuries in Weber C ankle fractures. We have shown that it has low complication rates and a high patient satisfaction.
KeywordsAnkle Fractures Tightrope Weber C Syndesmosis Syndesmotic complex Syndesmosis repair Syndesmosis reconstruction Syndesmosis reduction Diastasis Suture button
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Mr. A. Anand contributed to data collection/study write-up; Mr. R. Wei contributed to study write-up; Mr. A. Patel contributed to data collection; Mr. V. Vedi contributed to data analysis; Mr. G. Allardice contributed to data collection/study supervisor; and Mr. B.S. Anand contributed to data collection/study supervisor.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
This study was passed through hospital research and development boards and did not require formal ethical approval.
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